The true power of the media right now

As a PR strategist and trainer, I often see the media getting negative comments around all the ‘doom and gloom’ news they share. The scaremongering, the misleading headlines. Just in the last few days I have witnessed immense good news stories and seen the true power of the media right now. The thing is, it’s their job to report on these things but it isn’t all doom and gloom in the newsrooms. They always have and continue to make an incredible impact with people that need their help. Local Democracy Reporter for the Sheffield Star and BBC, Lucy Ashton, shared this incredible post about how one newspaper piece turned things around for local NHS staff.
A simple conversation with a local nurse encouraged Lucy to write a piece on how NHS staff were being fined hundreds of pounds in parking fines. This isn’t ideal in any situation but right now when it’s all hands on deck and NHS staff are working more hours than ever putting their own lives at risk, the fact that there were parking charges is absurd. Once the piece was published in the Sheffield Star newspaper, all the accumulated parking fees were cancelled immediately! Had this not been published in the newspaper or exposed publicly, those parking fees would have kept rising and causing immense stress for NHS staff when their energy is needed elsewhere. Anna Roberts, Senior Commissioning Editor at The Sun newspaper wrote a piece on how eBay sellers began selling baby milk for outrageous prices when a demand for the product was noticed.
Sadly the post was attracted some, shall we say, ‘negative nelly’ opinions on the newspaper itself rather than the story, which is such a shame. Although it absolutely did not take away the powerful message behind the story. The published piece quickly prompted eBay to identify and issue warnings to users and to stop it. It also gained attention from other media outlets so the story continued to grow and gained even more awareness on the issue. Had Anna not written this piece, eBay sellers would have continued to sell this essential item at extortionate prices to parents who really needed to feed their babies.  How amazing are these good news stories?! At the time of writing this article these two examples of how the media is using its influence and powers to help real people were both published within two days of each other. Journalists are working hard to get these good news stories out to us and their voice (and distribution channel!) is hugely important to make a big change when we need it. We need the media. Whether local or national, they expose stories and awareness on events that could go unnoticed.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen any good news stories that have helped your local community recently?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments…

10 publicity tips to get your business in the media

The power of PR and what it can do for a business is incredible. I’ve seen first-hand how it has changed companies and now one of my favourite things in the world is sharing PR tips with company leaders and marketing teams across the world.

Just one strategically placed media mention can do wonders for your business. After our first session together, a client’s product was featured in a national newspaper and they had to restock their warehouse SIX times due to all the orders. All from that one media mention.

Side note, if you’d like me to come and train your team on how to do PR, just click here.

To help you start landing media coverage for your company here are 10 of my favourite PR tips…

1. Get in the media your ideal client consumes

The big names are great to have in your ‘as seen in’ image. There’s no denying it. It boost credibility and gives you, what I like to call, ‘cool points’. BUT it’s also a good idea to be featured in media outlets you know will get you right in front of your ideal clients.

2. Find the decision maker

Type in the job title and media outlet into Twitter or LinkedIn to find your exact contact name. This is the person who you need to pitch your idea to so you know it gets seen by the right eyes. Try writing ‘Editor’ or ‘Fashion Editor’ and then the magazine name. Boom.

3. Use direct contact details

Rather than email generic news@ or admin@ email addresses it’s best to find the exact contact details of the person you need to see your story. Your first point of call will be the media outlets website ‘contact us’ page as they may have a staff list and how to get in touch with everyone. Sometimes journalists may add their email addresses to their social media profiles too.

4. Pitch a story idea not a topic

A general topic is much too vague for the media to decide if they want you or not. If you want to write an article for a magazine, pitch an actual article title. Sharing your work history doesn’t help the magazine know where to put you or know what you could write about.

5. Check the media pack

Be strategic with your time and spend time pitching yourself to media outlets with an audience. Magazines and other media often have a ‘media pack’, ‘media kit’ or the like, featured on their website. This is created for advertisers to see who and how big their reach is so will give you a great idea if they are the right place to feature your company in.

6. Be wary of advertorials

Advertorials are paid-for media. They are often something smaller businesses or those new to PR get collared into because they don’t realise how else to appear in the media. If you know your ideal client is absolutely going to see you and you will leverage the opportunity to the max then it may be worth it. Chances are there are other ways to gain exposure.

7. Find your PR Sweet Spot

Once you have defined what media your ideal client is consuming, now think about which PR activities you want to try and where the sweet spot between them lies. If you are a great writer and know your dream client reads certain magazines, then you know it is worth focusing on that as a strategy.

8. Be media-ready

Once you start putting yourself out there people will Google you or land on your social media profiles or website. Make sure everything is up-to-date, page 1 of Google reflects your current business, and that you are ready to be found.

9. Have an opinion

If you agree with all your industry says or do everything perfectly it doesn’t make a great story. If you have an opinion, voice it. Just keep your published opinions on brand and in line with your business values. People love to see a negative turned into something amazing so if you overcame a failure that’s something your audience can (and will) resonate with.

10. A rough game plan (however simple!)

Having a communications plan helps keep you and your team on track with your marketing, channels you are engaging on and the messaging you share. You’ll be able to plan for publicity and content for your business events, awareness days etc. This can be as simple or as in-depth as you need depending on how deep you’re diving in but having something to keep track of your ideas, task list and deadlines will definitely be a good start.

How to be invited on TV as an industry expert

You’ve no doubt watched the news and seen the ‘experts’ they bring on to interview them. They could be asked simply their opinion on a story, or about their direct involvement, or just sharing their own news. Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that a TV interview will raise your profile and leveraging it well can lead to incredible results.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to work with hundreds of companies looking to raise their profile. In all honesty, TV is the least requested PR activity. That is often because the person does not feel comfortable in front of the camera, but more often than not it’s because TV is viewed as unattainable. 

Wouldn’t it be AMAZING if you could be that go-to expert that the media called next time they needed someone to talk on your Zone of Genius topics.

Here’s how you can make that happen.

What’s the point?

There are a few things to consider before you start putting yourself forward for media opportunities, certainly TV interviews. There are no right or wrong answers here at all. It’s just handy to keep this in mind as it may decide who you decide to contact.

  • Why do I want to be on TV? 
  • What can I talk about? What do I have to give to the conversation?
  • What’s the objective? Am I boosting my credibility or just fancy a day out at the studio? 
  • Who is my ideal client (or target audience)? Are they watching this show or is it just to add the media logo to my ‘as seen in’ image?

Who to contact?

The most effective way to use your time, and this goes for all PR activities, is to find the decision-maker. 

Social media is your best friend here!

Open up Twitter and LinkedIn and search for a job role and media outlet name. The job titles you want to look out for with landing a TV interview is Producer or Senior Producer. You may even find the contact name of the right person on their own website too or in the TV show credits.

Kerri L Watt | Rising Tide Media

What could you appear on TV for?

You may already know which shows you would love a TV interview with. If not, you can scour the media for news stories that are being written about and see what you could have to bring to the conversation. Maybe you have a different opinion, would have handled something in another way, or have a newsworthy story or awareness campaign to share.

Set up one or several Google Alerts for keywords within your topics of expertise. When the media publishes something on that topic you will then be emailed and receive the piece straight into your inbox. 

This is great for seeing what the media (and your industry) are talking about and keeping up-to-date with everything.

You can even read the media piece and reach out to the writer introducing yourself for any followup pieces they may be writing. Be brief though, this is just to get on their radar.

Whatever you want to share on TV, whether it’s a personal story or your business expertise, it has to match the ethos and audience of the show. In short, you have to be relevant.

By proactively putting yourself forward to a local newspaper for a local story, it is likely they will be keen to cover it (or already writing something) as it is relevant to them and their readership.


What if no one replies to your emails?

Should you start pitching yourself for a TV interview and the media have yet to call you, I see two options ahead of you.

  1. Feel sorry for yourself and give up because it’ll never work OR
  2. Become your own newsroom

I say choose option 2! 

Start creating your own content and showcasing your expertise through blog posts, sharing case studies, your own journey, screenshots of testimonials, your signature top tips. 

When a news story related to your industry or your clients breaks, create content (ideally include video!) that showcases to your audience that you are an authority in your field and have an opinion on this.

Your website and social media platforms are the places to get your voice seen and heard. And you too can become your own newsroom. 


Lights, camera, LEVERAGE!

Being on TV is absolutely an option for you. If it’s what you want then I say go for it. Just one TV interview can immensely boost your credibility. Not just at that moment, but it also helps to future-proof your brand.

Why? 

Well, your ideal clients and business associates may see you live on TV. That’s always awesome. The feeling of seeing screenshots afterward and social media shout outs is electric.

You HAVE to keep the momentum going. Media coverage is great, of course, but the magic truly happens when you leverage it.

Here are my favourite ways that I would leverage a TV interview…
  • Take photos of the green room, studio, your train journey, choosing your outfit – anything to document your day and create anticipation of the main event.
  • Have a friend take screenshots while you’re live and send them to you so you can share in social media posts and stories IMMEDIATELY after you finish.
  • Add the video to a showreel (if you have one)
  • Add the TV show logo to your ‘As seen in’ image.
  • Pop your ‘As seen in’ image on your website homepage, press page, social media cover images.
  • Write a blog post about your experience including embedded social media shout outs, your own screenshots, how you enjoyed the process, and the topic itself.
  • Schedule social media posts for the next week and even further.

Should you get on their radar now… or when a story breaks?

If you wait for a crisis and breaking news story to happen before you reach out to the media then beware as they may not open their emails when knee-deep in such a crisis. Getting on the medias radar before a story breaks is ideal. YOU are then the expert they think of when that moment happens and they need to interview or quote someone. You can get on the decision-making Producers radar by introducing yourself via email.  Or you can do my favourite thing and follow them on social media, share their stuff, comment now and then, so when you do pitch yourself to them they are hopefully already familiar with your name because you’ve been engaging on social media already.